|Publication number||US7913507 B2|
|Application number||US 12/137,659|
|Publication date||Mar 29, 2011|
|Filing date||Jun 12, 2008|
|Priority date||Jun 15, 2007|
|Also published as||US20090000332|
|Publication number||12137659, 137659, US 7913507 B2, US 7913507B2, US-B2-7913507, US7913507 B2, US7913507B2|
|Inventors||Yoshihiro Kondo, Tatsuya Saito, Takeshi Kato, Kenji Ogiro|
|Original Assignee||Hitachi, Ltd.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (16), Non-Patent Citations (4), Classifications (10), Legal Events (4)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
The present application claims priority from Japanese patent application serial no. 2007-158891 filed on Jun. 15, 2007, the content of which is hereby incorporated by reference into this application.
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates to cooling systems for cooling heat generating components in electronic equipment (electronics). It particularly relates to cooling systems which efficiently and stably cool heat generating components by utilizing the latent heat of vaporization of a liquid refrigerant while circulating the refrigerant.
2. Description of Related Art
Semiconductor devices such as CPUs (central processing units) in electronic equipment (electronics) typified by computers need to be temperature controlled (mostly by cooling) from the standpoint of performance stabilization and failure prevention of such electronic equipment. Conventionally, there have been generally employed a passive cooling system which regulates the air temperature surrounding electronic equipment using an air conditioner or the like, and cools the electronic equipment by utilizing heat dissipating fins attached to devices such as CPUs and ventilation fans. With recent trend toward higher packing densities and higher operation speeds, semiconductor devices generate more and more heat. There is also a demand for downsizing of electronic equipment, so active cooling systems for heat generating components in electronic equipment are receiving much attention today.
For example, JP-A-2005-228216 discloses a method of direct liquid cooling for heat generating components in electronic equipment, in which heat is directly transferred from the components to a liquid refrigerant used as heat exchange medium. JP-A Hei 10 (1998)-160368 and JP-A-2006-308163 disclose a method for downsizing a cooling system by utilizing a loop heat pipe.
However, the above-mentioned conventional methods have technical problems to be solved. In order to efficiently liquid cool semiconductor devices such as CPUs mounted on various blade modules of electronic equipment, the cooling system of the above-mentioned JP-A-2005-228216 is configured with: multiple cooling units for liquid cooling the respective blade modules; and a heat exchange unit for venting heated liquid refrigerants from the respective cooling units, cooling them with a heat exchanger and redistributing them to the multiple cooling units. This patent describes that efficient cooling can be achieved by regulating the flow rates of the liquid refrigerants distributed from the heat exchange unit to the cooling units. However, the cooling efficiency depends on the flow rate of liquid refrigerant and therefore a relatively large amount of liquid refrigerant is needed, thus possibly incurring an increase in the size of the liquid refrigerant feed pump and heat exchanger.
The heat pipe cooling system described in the above-mentioned JP-A Hei 10 (1998)-160368 uses a loop heat pipe in which the heat receiving and dissipating units and the piping connecting them are optimized in order to achieve downsizing and improved efficiency of the cooling system and to prevent dew formation (condensation) harmful to electronic components. This cooling system acquires a high cooling capacity by utilizing the latent heat of the working fluid of the heat pipe. However, because the circulating force is provided by difference in operating pressure between the heat receiving and dissipating units, the pumping force is by its nature small, so sufficient force for circulating the liquid refrigerant cannot be maintained in some situations (particularly at lower loads) Therefore, a pump is needed to overcome this problem. In addition, it is difficult to achieve a stable cooling capacity.
In order to improve the pumping force generated by the vaporization of the working liquid of the heat pipe, the cooling system of the above-mentioned JP-A-2006-308163 has, within the heat receiving container, multiple wicks each producing a capillary pressure by impregnating it with the working liquid. Each wick is a porous structure having a number of pores. And, there is provided a laminate of multiple wicks having different pore sizes. The patent describes that wicks having different pore sizes have difference capillary pressures, generating a temperature gradient between the inside and outside of the laminate of wicks, and thus, the flow of the working fluid can be smoothened. However, similarly to the above-mentioned JP-A Hei 10 (1998)-160368, this patent still has a problem of small pumping force. Therefore, the pumping force cannot adequately respond to load changes, and thus a stable cooling capacity cannot be obtained.
Under these circumstances, it is an objective of the present invention to provide an electronic equipment cooling system which can efficiently and stably cool heat generating components in electronic equipment even when the temperature of such components changes (due to a change in the load of the equipment).
According to one aspect of the present invention, there is provided a cooling system for cooling a heat generating component in electronic equipment, which comprises:
a heat receiver thermally connected to the heat generating component, the heat receiver including:
a closed refrigerant circulation path, including:
a closed gas circulation path, including:
In the above aspect of the present invention, the following modifications and changes can be made.
(i) The liquid refrigerant spreader is disposed along a substantially entire area of the internal surface of the heat receiver base.
(ii) The size of the opening of the mesh portion of the liquid refrigerant spreader is from 0.2 to 1.8 mm.
(iii) The mesh portion of the liquid refrigerant spreader is a plain weave of metal wires with a diameter of 0.2 to 0.5 mm.
(iv) The liquid refrigerant spreader further includes a cutout portion facing a semiconductor chip mounted on the heat generating component and having substantially the same projected shape as that of the semiconductor chip.
(v) The distance between the internal surface of the heat receiver base and a surface of the mesh portion of the spreader remote from the heat receiver base is from 1 to 1.5 mm.
(vi) The temperature of the gas fed into the heat receiver is controlled, by means of a temperature control mechanism, to be higher than that of the liquid refrigerant dribbling down along the internal surface of the heat receiver base.
The electronic equipment cooling system according to the present invention has a closed refrigerant circulation path and a closed gas circulation path separately from each other, and also makes active use of the latent heat of vaporization of a liquid refrigerant while circulating the refrigerant; thereby it can offer an efficient and stable cooling capacity even if the temperature of heat generating components in electronic equipment changes (due to a change in the load of the equipment).
A preferred embodiment of the present invention will be described below with reference to the accompanying drawings. However, the present invention is not limited to the embodiment described herein.
(Overall Structure of Electronic Equipment Cooling System)
Examples of the electronic equipment 1 include, besides the blade server, mainframes, supercomputers and network systems. While this embodiment will be described below for the case of cooling a server blade 31 having high heat generating components such as CPUs, the electronic equipment to be cooled is not limited to a server blade 31, or the heat generating component to be cooled is not limited to a CPU.
In the cooling system 11 of the present invention, there is provided a closed refrigerant circulation path which is formed by connecting, using refrigerant conduits 9, a heat receiver 4 thermally connected to a heat generating component of the electronic equipment, a refrigerant condenser 5, a refrigerant pump 6, and a refrigerant tank 7. Further, a closed gas circulation path is formed by connecting, using gas conduits 9′, the heat receiver 4, the refrigerant condenser 5 and a blower 8. The heat receiver 4 and refrigerant condenser 5 are connected by a common conduit 10, through which a gas containing a vaporized refrigerant (i.e., a mixture of a refrigerant and gas) flows. Moreover, the refrigerant condenser 5 is indirectly connected to an external heat exchanger (not shown).
The vaporization of the liquid refrigerant in the heat receiver 4 is prompted by heat transfer from the heat generating component and diffusion toward the feed gas, thereby efficiently cooling the heat generating component. The refrigerant vaporized is mixed with the feed gas and the resulting mixed gas (e.g., the gas humidified with water) is vented to the refrigerant condenser 5 through the common conduit 10.
The refrigerant condenser 5, which is configured (as described above) to transfer heat to the unshown heat exchanger, condenses the gaseous refrigerant vented from the heat receiver 4 so that the liquid refrigerant and gas are separated from the mixture. The liquid refrigerant so separated is pumped back to the refrigerant tank 7 with the refrigerant pump 6. And, the gas so separated (dry gas) is recirculated with the blower 8.
(Structure of Heat Receiver)
The structure of the heat receiver 4 will now be described in more detail.
In a upper portion of the top wall of the box 42, there is provided a liquid refrigerant inlet 44 through which the liquid refrigerant is fed and then dribbles down, by its own weight, along a surface of the heat receiver base 41 on the side of the gas flow space 43 (hereinafter, the internal surface of the heat receiver base 41). In another upper portion of the top wall of the box 42, there is provided a gas inlet 45 through which the gas (e.g., dry air) used for vaporizing the refrigerant is fed into the gas flow space 43. Further, the box 42 is provided with a gas outlet 46 for venting together: the refrigerant vaporized by heat transfer from the heat generating component 30 and released into the feed gas; the liquid refrigerant which has dribbled down along the internal surface of the heat receiver base and reached the bottom of the wall 42; and the feed gas. Again in
The cooling capability of the cooling system of the present invention depends on the efficiency of vaporization of the liquid refrigerant on the internal surface of the heat receiver base. For efficient vaporization of the liquid refrigerant, it is desirable to spread the dribbling liquid refrigerant thinly over the entire internal surface of the heat receiver base. For this purpose, a liquid refrigerant spreader 47 is provided along the internal surface of the heat receiver base of the heat receiver 4. Preferably, the liquid refrigerant spreader 47 is provided along substantially the entire area of the internal surface of the heat receiver base. The liquid refrigerant spreader 47 has its own fine openings and/or it has a small gap between itself and the internal surface of the heat receiver base. Here, such fine openings and/or such a small gap function to cause, by capillary phenomenon, the liquid refrigerant fed from the inlet 44 to spread over substantially the entire internal surface of the heat receiver base and to form a film. In addition, the liquid refrigerant so spread in a film dribbles down very slowly, while occasionally staying, by surface tension, on the spreader 47 and internal surface of the heat receiver base. Preferably, the internal surface of the heat receiver base is applied a hydrophilic treatment (such as a hydrophilic titanium oxide coating) in order to improve wettability to the liquid refrigerant.
(Structure of Liquid Refrigerant Spreader)
Next, the structure of the liquid refrigerant spreader 47 will be described.
The wire of the mesh 472 is preferably made of a good heat-conducting metal (such as copper and aluminum), but other materials may be used. Additionally, the mesh 472 is preferably a plain weave of wires with a diameter of 0.2 to 0.5 mm. Further, the mesh 472 is preferably applied a hydrophilic treatment (such as a hydrophilic titanium oxide coating) in order to improve wettability to the liquid refrigerant.
As already described, it is preferable that the internal surface of the heat receiver base is continuously and uniformly wetted (covered) by the liquid refrigerant. Here, it is important to maintain a film of the liquid refrigerant because formation of droplets will cause reduction in evaporation efficiency (which will be detailed later). In order to maintain such a film, the distance between the internal surface of the heat receiver base and the surface of the mesh remote from the heat receiver base is preferably the order of 1 to 1.5 mm.
The refrigerant vaporized by heat transfer from the heat generating component and urged to diffuse to the feed gas passes through the mesh openings 473 of the mesh 472 and is released into the gas flow space 43 of the heat receiver 4. Here, the amount of the vaporized refrigerant passing through the mesh openings 473 depends strongly on the size of the opening 473.
As is apparent from
(Discussion on Vaporization of Liquid Refrigerant)
Next, conditions required for vaporizing the liquid refrigerant and efficiently cooling the heat generating component will be discussed. For example, when the heat generating component 30 is a CPU having a thermal design power (TDP) of 80 W and pure water is used as the liquid refrigerant, the liquid refrigerant needs to be vaporized at a rate of approximately 2 g/min or more in order to dissipate heat generated by the CPU since the latent heat of vaporization of pure water is approximately 2390 J/g. It goes without saying that the required rate of vaporization of the liquid refrigerant varies depending on the heat generation level.
In order to acquire a sufficient amount of latent heat of vaporization required for cooling, it is more important to enhance the efficiency of vaporization of the liquid refrigerant than to increase the feed rate thereof to the heat receiver 4. The feed rate of the liquid refrigerant can be minimal as long as it can provide a sufficient liquid refrigerant required for the evaporative cooling. The efficiency of vaporization of the liquid refrigerant can be enhanced, for example, by increasing the temperature of the gas flow space 43 of the heat receiver 4 or by drying the feed gas. In other words, it is vital to provide and maintain a condition under which the gas flow space 43 can contain a sufficiently large amount of vaporized refrigerant (can have a sufficiently high saturated vapor pressure of the refrigerant). Preferably, in the present invention, a dry gas with a temperature higher than that of the liquid refrigerant is fed to the heat receiver 4 with the blower 8; thereby, a sufficiently large amount of vaporized refrigerant can be contained in the dry gas and can then be rapidly exhausted.
A method for maintaining an efficient vaporization of the liquid refrigerant will be further described. Assume that the liquid refrigerant, which is circulated and fed into the heat receiver 4, is provided with no special temperature control and is at room temperature (approximately 20° C.). Then, in order to stably operate the above-mentioned heat generating component having a TDP of 80 W at, for example, 60° C. (i.e., in order to maintain it at 60° C.), the refrigerant needs to be vaporized at 60° C. or below because the temperature thereof only rises from 20° C. to somewhere 60° C. or below).
The following two factors govern the rate of vaporization of liquid refrigerant:
(1) the diffusion of the vaporized refrigerant caused by a difference between the vapor pressure in the liquid refrigerant and the saturated vapor pressure in the feed gas, and
(2) the mass transport of the vaporized refrigerant caused by the flow of the feed gas which vents the vaporized refrigerant.
In particular, the vaporization of the liquid refrigerant on the internal surface of the heat receiver base is governed by the above factor (1).
As described above, when pure water is used as the refrigerant, it needs to be vaporized at a rate of approximately 2 g/min in order to dissipate a heat generation of 80 W. In this case, considering the above governing factors and assuming that the average gas flow rate in the gas feed space 43 is approximately 3 m/sec, then the temperature of the feed gas is desirably about 30° C. or more. In order to raise the temperature of the feed gas to about 30° C. or more, it is preferable to provide the closed gas circulation path with a temperature control mechanism (such as a hot air generator and a heat exchanger utilizing heat generated by the heat generating components of the electronic equipment 1).
The vaporized refrigerant expands, passes through the mesh openings 473 of the mesh 472 and is released into the gas flow space 43 of the heat receiver 4. In addition, the vaporized refrigerant which has expanded and been released into the gas flow space 43 increases the pressure inside the space 43, and then a resulting pumping force facilitates the vaporized refrigerant and gas fed from the gas inlet 45 to be rapidly exhausted through the gas outlet 46. Furthermore, as has been already described, the gas inlet 45 is preferably provided with the backflow preventer 48 in order to inhibit the backflow of the mixed gas caused by the pressure increase due to the vaporization of refrigerant.
A second embodiment of the present invention will now be described. The overall structure of the electronic equipment cooling system and structure of the heat receiver according to this embodiment are similar to those described in the first embodiment, and therefore the detailed descriptions are omitted.
Such a structure can further facilitate vaporization of the liquid refrigerant and is therefore particularly effective for heat generating components having a higher TDP (e.g., 100 W or more). The heat receiver having the mesh 474 with the cutout 476 was measured for the normalized thermal resistance between the heat generating component and the feed gas. The result showed that the normalized thermal resistance could be further reduced by about 10% compared to the case without the cutout 476 (as described in
Next, a third embodiment of the present invention will be described. The overall structure of the electronic equipment cooling system and structure of the heat receiver according to this embodiment are similar to those described in the first embodiment, and therefore the detailed descriptions are omitted.
A plurality of liquid refrigerant inlets 44 are provided in the top of the outer frame 471. The liquid refrigerant fed through the inlets 44 infiltrates into the mesh openings 478 and/or the small gap between the mesh 477 and internal surface of the heat receiver base, and then spreads across the entire area of the mesh 477 by capillary phenomenon. Preferably, the material and surface treatment of the mesh 477 are similar to those of the first embodiment.
The liquid refrigerant spreader 47″ having such a structure offers advantages similar to the first embodiment. Moreover, advantages similar to the second embodiment can be obtained by forming, similarly to the second embodiment, a cutout 476 facing the semiconductor chip 301 of the heat generating component 30 and having substantially the same projected size as that of the chip 301.
The above-described embodiments of the present invention have advantages below.
(1) The electronic equipment cooling system according to the present invention can efficiently cool electronic equipment by making active use of the latent heat of vaporization of a liquid refrigerant while circulating the refrigerant.
(2) The electronic equipment cooling system according to the present invention makes active use of the latent heat of vaporization of a liquid refrigerant while circulating the refrigerant, thereby reducing the required amount of the refrigerant and therefore reducing the size of the cooling system compared to cooling systems employing conventional cooling methods.
(3) The electronic equipment cooling system according to the present invention maintains a film of a liquid refrigerant across a liquid refrigerant spreader provided in its heat receiver, thereby increasing the heat transfer and vaporization areas to the liquid refrigerant and therefore increasing the cooling efficiency compared to conventional cooling systems using a heat pipe.
(4) The electronic equipment cooling system according to the present invention provides a closed refrigerant circulation path and a closed gas circulation path separately from each other, and thereby the circulating (pumping) force can be maintained stable. Therefore, electronic equipment can be cooled stably even if the temperature of the heat generating components of the electronic equipment changes (due to a change in the load of the equipment).
Although the invention has been described with respect to the specific embodiments for complete and clear disclosure, the appended claims are not to be thus limited but are to be construed as embodying all modifications and alternative constructions that may occur to one skilled in the art which fairly fall within the basic teaching herein set forth.
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|1||Email from Elson Silva, " Respecting Hydrology Science-US Patent Application 20090000332", dated Nov. 21, 2010.|
|2||Email from Elson Silva, " Respecting Hydrology Science—US Patent Application 20090000332", dated Nov. 21, 2010.|
|3||Email from Elson Silva, dated Jan. 2, 2009, subject IDS request for US 20090000332.|
|4||JP Office Action of Appln. No. 2007-158891 dated Sep. 29, 2009 with English translation.|
|U.S. Classification||62/259.2, 62/509|
|Cooperative Classification||F28D15/0266, H01L2924/0002, F28D15/046, F28F3/12, F28F13/187, H01L23/427|
|Oct 28, 2010||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: HITACHI, LTD., JAPAN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:KONDO, YOSHIHIRO;SAITO, TATSUYA;KATO, TAKESHI;AND OTHERS;SIGNING DATES FROM 20080609 TO 20080626;REEL/FRAME:025208/0139
|Nov 7, 2014||REMI||Maintenance fee reminder mailed|
|Mar 29, 2015||LAPS||Lapse for failure to pay maintenance fees|
|May 19, 2015||FP||Expired due to failure to pay maintenance fee|
Effective date: 20150329